• On Tuesday, Ms Banda, Malawi’s first female president and second on the African continent, formally submitted papers to run as a candidate in upcoming elections.
  • Despite being mired in the Cashgate corruption scandal, Ms Banda is the "most trusted" political leader in the southern African country, according to a recent survey.
  • If elected she promised her administration would raise the minimum wage of all Malawians employees to K40, 000 ($55) from the current K25, 000, ($34) representing a 64 percent upward surge.

Former Malawi president, Joyce Banda, has thrown her hat in the ring and is set to face off with President Peter Mutharika in the quest to head the southern African country.

On Tuesday, Ms Banda, Malawi’s first female president and second on the African continent, formally submitted papers to run as a candidate in upcoming elections, after rescinding her earlier decision to join an alliance with Vice President Saulos Chilima.

"My mission in life has been, and still is, to assist women and youth... though business and education," she said while surrounded by her People's Party (PP) supporters.

Dr. Joyce Banda, Former President of Malawi
Dr. Joyce Banda, Former President of Malawi

she touted her past record and underlined her support of Malawian women.

"We have sat down with experts in coming up with an economic model like no other and we believe that, in implementing that economic plan, we shall change Malawi."

If elected she promised her administration would raise the minimum wage of all Malawians employees to K40, 000 ($55) from the current K25, 000, ($34) representing a 64 percent upward surge.

Joyce Banda now throws her hat in the ring to face off with President Peter Mutharika as she moves to put Cashgate scandal behind her
Joyce Banda now throws her hat in the ring to face off with President Peter Mutharika as she moves to put Cashgate scandal behind her

Last week Chilima and Banda announced they had formed a four-party coalition in a bid to unseat President Peter Mutharika in the May 21 vote, but the group soon broke up.

Banda first came to power when she was vice president and succeeded the then president, Bingu wa Mutharika, who died suddenly in April 2012 while in office.

She, however, lost the 2014 election to Mutharika and left the country until 2018 after being embroiled in a multi-million-dollar corruption scandal dubbed "Cashgate".

Malawi President Peter Mutharika
Malawi President Peter Mutharika

So what are her chances of winning? She may actually have a shot if trust become a deal maker or breaker in the upcoming elections.

Despite being mired in the Cashgate corruption scandal, Ms Banda is the "most trusted" political leader in the southern African country, according to a recent survey conducted by Malawi's Institute of Public Opinion Research (Ipor).

With a rating of 32% Banda is the most trustworthy politician ahead of even the current president Peter Mutharika and other political party leaders.

"Despite the fact that Joyce Banda has lost popularity with 5% popular rating by the survey, many Malawians are still able to remember that in terms of fulfilling her promises comparatively to the current president [Mutharika], she seems to score highly," the report quoted governance expert and commentator Makhumbo Munthali as saying.

Supporters of former President Joyce Banda
Supporters of former President Joyce Banda

Her bookkeeping skills may also endear to the electorate. While in office she sold off a $15 million presidential jet, cut her own salary by 30 percent and dismissed her cabinet in the midst of corruption allegations.

Something which helped lift monetary suspensions from Western donors to Malawi and restore cash injections from the IMF.